Greater Greater Washington

Breakfast links: Share the car


Image from car2go.
Car2go ready to go: Car2go, the flexible one-way car sharing, is launching in DC on March 24. Register with promo code "capital" to waive the application fee and get some free minutes ... and then tell us your experiences once it starts! (TBD)

Zipcar interested in P2P: Zipcar will invest in Wheelz, an on-campus peer-to-peer car sharing service. Although it's just a toe in the water, it could indicate Zipcar has an interest beyond its traditional business model. (Shareable)

Gray dreams of Redskins practice fields: Administration officials review a few more details of their hopes to devote half of Reservation 13 to a Redskins training facility. Tommy Wells and neighborhood leaders are absolutely opposed. (Post)

Purple Line getting worse?: Purple Line planners are considering cutting a bridge over Connecticut Avenue to save money. Local leaders are strongly opposed; trail advocates would also hate losing the Wisconsin tunnel and also the Connecticut overpass. (Post)

Adequate Public Facilities law not adequate: Rockville's Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance prohibits development where schools are crowded, and other restrictions. Some councilmembers say it's been a failure, just limiting development in the areas with the most infrastructure, and may even be illegal. (Gazette)

Silver Line labor laws up in the air: The Virginia AG's office has no opinion on whether the state can enforce anti-union work rules on MWAA, contradicting an earlier statement that it could, itself contradicting an earlier statement that it could not. (Examiner)

Privacy vs. policing, take 516: New technologies, such as cell phone tracking and license-plate scanners, are commonplace in MPD's work, but the ACLU believes the gather of such data is an invasion of privacy. (WAMU)

Transpo bill moves right: The House GOP has cut the transportation bill to 18 months, but have made it even more conservative, says Steve LaTourette (R-OH), who opposed the original bill. John Mica blames transit riders. (Transportation Nation, Streetsblog)

And...: Silver Line station names could memorialize famous people from Northern Vir­ginia history. (Post) ... The National Mall's CaBi stations got the federal go-ahead. (TBD) ... Electric bikes are still unpopular, but their market share is slowly growing. (WAMU)

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David Edmondson is a transportation and urban affairs enthusiast living in Mount Vernon Square. He blogs about Marin County, California, at The Greater Marin

Comments

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Raise the gas tax guys. 5 cents a year for 3 years. I promise you, consumers will notice it.

Saw an electric bike on amazon for $450. The weight seems prohibitive; hard to lug up stairs, but at that price you can afford to get it stolen.

by charlie on Mar 2, 2012 8:47 am • linkreport

before we get 60 comments on the purple line, please everyone be calm - thats one among several possible cost savings, that they are looking at IN CASE the engineering indicates a higher cost than currently estimated. Its not something MTA is proposing.

by AWalkerInTheCity on Mar 2, 2012 8:56 am • linkreport

That WaPo "article" on the Dulles station names is worthless.

by MDE on Mar 2, 2012 9:16 am • linkreport

RE: R******s practice facility

Is there any way we can come up with a short document on how much the city is giving up by just giving this land to Dan Snyder?

E.g. can we calculate how much development is expected to happen on the property, how much that's worth in property values, and how much that would bring in in property taxes to the city, plus income taxes and sales taxes from the number of new residents living in the development?

The city has to be missing out on hundreds of millions in property taxes alone over 15 years.

by MLD on Mar 2, 2012 9:20 am • linkreport

I agree that this was a trial balloon on potential cost savings on the Purple Line. They haven't studied the impact yet. Once they do, this concept will die. For one, it assumes that cars and trucks will clear the intersection when a train needs to pass through. I'm guessing multiple times a day drivers would block the box in the outbound direction in the afternoon. What's more, trail advocates who have accepted the Purple Line will not stand for this.

It could be a matter of giving political cover. They looked hard at all areas of savings and found that the trade-offs were unacceptable for this one, but acceptable for the Wisconsin Ave. crossing.

by Crickey7 on Mar 2, 2012 9:24 am • linkreport

Has anyone actually proposed to the Mayor putting the Redskins practice facility at an EOTR site such as the old PEPCO plant (or if there's space on that strip of far SW by Bolling AFB)? I'd like to know how the Mayor responds to that idea. Seems like the perfect compromise and much better than putting the Redskins on a Reservation.

by Falls Church on Mar 2, 2012 9:43 am • linkreport

@MDE

Geez, someone woke up on the wrong side of the bed this morning. That is obviously just a silly blog post, not a worthless article.

by Nick on Mar 2, 2012 10:08 am • linkreport

Re: Purpose Line. I hope they compare the cost of building the rail overpass at Connecticut in the original construction, with the cost of a retrofit in which they do so later. As far as I know, the Purple Line will have many at-grade crossings of major state highways between New Carrollton and Silver Spring.

I also hope that they do the same analysis of other crossings. What makes Connecticut Avenue different than MD-450 or US-1? There has long been a grade crossing at Connecticut, and the freight trains had the right of way. Usually the practice has been that if motorists need a grade-separated crossing, the highway department pays for it (railbanking means that the grade crossing was never really abandonned).

by Jim T on Mar 2, 2012 10:09 am • linkreport

@Falls Church

Perfect compromise?

I guess I'm failing to come up with any sort of rationale as to why such a sprawling and low density use should be located on such prime real estate in the first place - yes, including EOTR.

There's nothing wrong with the Ashburn location, per se. The problem they have is a) their facility is old, and they want a new one; and b) it's 40+ miles from their stadium which is clear on the other side of town.

But given what the requirements for an NFL practice facility are - several outdoor playing fields, an indoor field, a substantial structure with weight rooms, etc, the ability to exclude all other users, it's just not the type of facility that you'd logically place in the center of a city.

If the idea were to build, say, a soccer academy for DC United instead, that would be different - since DC United has a vested interest in developing soccer talent in the region, they field several youth teams as a part of their academy, and they use the existing RFK auxiliary fields for pro team practice and youth team practice as well, not to mention a great deal of community use.

Likewise, if the idea were to take some of the RFK parking lots and turn them into fields (instead of taking perfectly good and developable land next to a Metro station), that would also be different.

Of course, none of this even touches on the financial aspects of any deal.

by Alex B. on Mar 2, 2012 10:16 am • linkreport

RE: DC trying to get professional football back in the city-proper: who was it again who told us to just hold our horses and see what the details are with Evans/Gray and the team? We know what they want - we need to make sure this DOES NOT happen. The time is now and we need to nip it in the bud (is that even the right phrase?) now so it doesn't fester. Allen Lew should be spending ZERO of his time working or researching this issue. Zero!

by Shipsa01 on Mar 2, 2012 10:18 am • linkreport

Also - for all the headlines about "bringing the Redskins back", we're talking about practice, man.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eGDBR2L5kzI

Not a game. Not a game! Practice.

It's not like the cutaway B-roll shots on FOX for a Redskins game will suddenly be of Hill East instead of stadium exterior shots from Landover.

by Alex B. on Mar 2, 2012 10:20 am • linkreport

I am repeating myself, but this is important. Simply put: what an incredibly poor use of space right next to a Metro Station served by two (soon to be three) lines! Did we really spend billions of dollars building Metro so that we could use valuable land adjacent to a station for a single use that is blocked off from adjacent neighborhoods, creates little vitality or economic activity and adds little to (perhaps even subtracts from)the District’s tax base?

The District already has an excellent plan for Reservation 13 to create a mixed-use development that will extend Capitol Hill’s street grid and:

* leverage and capitalize on our investment of billions of dollars in Metro;
* add residents, businesses and tax revenue to the city;
* create hundreds (thousands?) of units of housing with easy transit access (a one-seat ride!) to almost all major DC, Arlington and Fairfax employment centers, and
* finally give my neighborhood the businesses and services we so sorely lack.

It makes little sense for Mayor Gray to turn his back on years of planning and community involvement and turn this incredibly valuable land over to a billionaire sports team owner. (And not just any billionaire sports team owner, but a billionaire sports team owner who has a terrible track record on countless issues, has alienated most if not all Redskins fans and will probably block all non-paid public access to this property and the riverfront park beyond it.) Barney Circle and Hill East deserve better. Instead of a grocery store, some restaurants, a dry cleaner and some other services next to our Metro Station, we have a vast, poorly maintained surface parking lot that serves as a storage area for District Government vehicles, with abandoned and poorly-maintained District Government-owned buildings as a backdrop, all of it fronted by a high-speed, one-way expressway for suburban commuters who have little regard for pedestrians. Indeed, when looking at the design and urban fabric of 19th Street SE, one can only conclude that our elected officials care more about suburban motorists than about the neighborhood residents (and District taxpayers) walking to Stadium-Armory Metro. Stadium-Armory Station opened in 1977. Think of what Arlington, one of the District’s main economic development competitors, would have done with Reservation 13 by now!

To give (or even sell) this land to Daniel Snyder would be an incredibly short-sighted and unimaginative move.

by rg on Mar 2, 2012 10:22 am • linkreport

I love this line from the article:

"“They were interested, but we couldn’t come together in agreement in terms of who pays for what and finding a site,” said Neil O. Albert, who was a deputy mayor and city administrator then."

Ha - I can't imagine why! I'm glad to see Fenty and his team did not cave into this jerk - Gray better not as well.

by Shipsa01 on Mar 2, 2012 10:28 am • linkreport

It makes little sense for Mayor Gray to turn his back on years of planning and community involvement and turn this incredibly valuable land over to a billionaire sports team owner.

Unless you want to make a move that will serve as a swift kick in the teeth to smart growth advocates and people who want more mixed-use, dense development near metro stations, just to show them who's in charge, here. I think Gray could be hailed as a hero if he poses it as an act of standing up to that constituency in favor of helping out the Redskins.

by JustMe on Mar 2, 2012 10:32 am • linkreport

But that couldn't happen, JustMe, he was endorsed here!

(And yes, I know this won't make it to the post.)

by Shipsa01 on Mar 2, 2012 10:37 am • linkreport

@JustMe: this little issue will be soon forgotten by the "smart growth" set. It is the neighborhood residents that will endure the kick in the teeth. I hope that Mayor Grey remembers that we vote.

by goldfish on Mar 2, 2012 10:40 am • linkreport

I love this line from the article
"“They were interested, but we couldn’t come together in agreement in terms of who pays for what and finding a site,” said Neil O. Albert, who was a deputy mayor and city administrator then."

That's interesting. My takeaway of the idea that, The plan is the culmination of talks between the Redskins and city leaders that date to 2008, under former mayor Adrian M. Fenty is that this wasn't some sort of secret plan of the Gray administration but the idea surfaced under Fenty.

I wonder what the negotiations were like back then? This is still odd though.

by HogWash on Mar 2, 2012 11:00 am • linkreport

Where do I get more info on Car2Go? It looks like this is not usable if you want to bring kids with you on your ride. Huge bummer for parents looking to give up private cars.

by Ward 1 Guy on Mar 2, 2012 11:04 am • linkreport

I have a feeling they went something like this:

Fenty: "We would like the team to come back to DC."
Snyder: "Ok, give me some land, build me a stadium and give me tax breaks."
Fenty: "Umm, no, I can't do that - there's already too much heat on us after the baseball stadium debacle."
Evans: "Come on Adrian, just build him a stadium and give him the land."
Fenty: "Jack, are you out of your mind? Ok, ok, Dan, what will you do for DC if we give you land?"
Snyder: "Nothing."
(crickets, crickets)
Fenty: "What will you do if we build the stadium?"
Snyder: "Nothing."
(more crickets...)
Evans: "See, just give him the land and build him a stadium. He's a man of his word - with VERY deep pockets!"
Fenty: "No, this is utterly ridiculous - there's no way we would do this!"
Snyder: "Oh, just wait, Mr. Mayor - I have a feeling you won't be around here too much longer. I'm sure there will be someone easier to negotiate with soon."

by Shipsa01 on Mar 2, 2012 11:10 am • linkreport

I guess I'm failing to come up with any sort of rationale as to why such a sprawling and low density use should be located on such prime real estate in the first place - yes, including EOTR.

First of all, 30 acres isn't all that sprawling. Second, the PEPCO or Bolling areas of the city are not prime real estate. Actually, they add nothing to the city in their current state and there are no plans to make them into something better. Maybe someday you could build some high density, mixed-use urbanist utopia in those spots. But, if you're expecting to go from nothing to perfect with no transition, you're not being realistic. Getting that land integrated into the city and bringing foot traffic to EOTR is a logical first step.

Also, since you consider EOTR to be such prime real estate, can you tell me what destinations bring you there often or even occasionally? Don't get me wrong, I'm not calling EOTR a ghetto or even a bad place but anyone who's spent time there knows they are under-served and deserve some attractive destinations that would bring people (and dollars) from other parts of the area.

This reminds me of the Fort Lincoln Costco argument of wanting to go straight from the existing raw wetlands to a dense urban mixed use development. That's just not how things usually work.

by Falls Church on Mar 2, 2012 11:19 am • linkreport

@Falls Church

30 acres is a huge amount of land in an urban context. We're not making any more land within DC, you know.

As for the other sites you mention, no - they are not ripe for development right now. Nor are they ripe for the development of a Redskins practice facility, either. Pepco needs massive clean-up. Bolling is, you know, a military base. DC can't just take the land.

As far as destinations go, let me flip the question to you: how would a practice facility bring people into those areas? Who is this a destination for? Redskins beat reporters?

Consider the opportunity cost. It's not a question of Redskins vs. Nothing, nor is the Fort Lincoln Costco a good example, either. In Hill East, you're talking Redskins vs dense, mixed use, transit oriented development. The Pepco site has a longer timeframe, but will be directly adjacent to the H/Benning streetcar line and has potential for an infill Metro station. The land that the District does control near Bolling is essentially the Poplar Point development - again, a large, dense, mixed use transit-oriented development. Fort Lincoln is not particularly transit-oriented. If they were proposing the Redskins facility there (Redskins vs. Costco) instead of Reservation 13, I doubt you'd have as much objection due to the reduced opportunity cost.

by Alex B. on Mar 2, 2012 11:30 am • linkreport

I don't know about you, Alex B, but every night I head down to the banks of the potomac (Virginia side, of course and not on any of the islands, you know, REAL virginia) and take a couple of shovelfuls of VA land and toss it into the river. SOON I will have a new DC island. Ergo, making new land? Check. 30 acres should be done just in time for a sea-level rise...

by David F-H on Mar 2, 2012 11:35 am • linkreport

Re: Purple Line

Wow. I'm flabbergasted the Maryland transpo people would even consider an at-grade crossing at Connecticut Avenue. This is foolishness incarnate. The safety issues alone dictate a bridge.

For the Purple Line to succeed, it needs its own right-of-way. Already, the line is to run along University Blvd. for a stretch, and that decision itself is highly questionable.

This project shouldn't be done on the cheap. But neither should it be gold-plated, and efforts must be untaken to ensure this does not happen. Costs are, of course, the crucial factor in what is eventually built. Maryland can build a very good project or one that is only so-so. For long-term success, it's imperative the Purple LIne be first class, or very near it.

A solution to the funding quagmire can be addressed by a very modest (and temporary) increase in the sales tax for Montgomery and Prince George's counties. An increase of 1/2¢ or 1¢ should do the trick. For how long? Several years. This is the funding roadmap the Maryland authorities should direct their energies.

by Sage on Mar 2, 2012 11:49 am • linkreport

@rg: bravo. Let me know if you want to co-sign a letter to Gray.
- Ward 6 resident

by Payton on Mar 2, 2012 12:53 pm • linkreport

@Falls church -- those are arguments to put up a Wallmart or Home Depot at the Pepco site. Which would be reasonable, and would do a lot for this neighborhood, as many of us (including me) would shop there. Not a practice facility.

by goldfish on Mar 2, 2012 1:09 pm • linkreport

It's sooooooooo hard to be enthusiastic about the Purple Line right now. I don't want to say 'I told you so' but what additional disappointments are in store for us? I am honestly moving towards the viewpoint that canceling the project could actually be a better outcome.

by renegade09 on Mar 2, 2012 1:57 pm • linkreport

Same here, renegade09! The possibility that it won't be finished next year just makes me want to tell everyone, "I told you so!" Because I totally called it.

What a mess! A huge project that hasn't been built overnight! It may as well be cancelled.

by Gray on Mar 2, 2012 3:10 pm • linkreport

Gray, I've already been mocked earlier this week when I raised the possibility that there would be no rail/trail improvements at Connecticut, so I shrug at your sarcasm. Maybe you could remind me what the benefits of spending a load of money on this project are when:

1. it will use a different platform to metro, therefore not fully integrated with existing transit
2. it may not have a dedicated right-of-way (therefore only an incremental benefit on a bus)
3. it will screw up one of the few good bike trails in southern Montgomery County?

None of these questions are new but we have reached the stage now where I don't trust MTA to deliver a Purple line that is worth the cost. I prefer shiny trains too but I'm thinking express bus could be a more cost-effective solution at this point.

by renegade09 on Mar 2, 2012 3:38 pm • linkreport

So it'll use a different platform. It will be in the same transporation complex, which is the key.

#'s 2 and 3 are mutually incompatible. Either it uses the GBT, in which case that portion has a dedicated right of way and frankly, the length will because the project is pretty much all or nothing on that point. Or it doesn't, in which case it's bus transit, but not very rapid.

As of for screwing it up? Far more runners, walkers and cyclists will use the finished trail than use the trail now. Yes, some current users are going to be disappointed--I don't dispute that. But tens of thousands who can't or won't go on it now will begin using it.

I still think the idea was thrown out there to push back on complaints about the at-grade Wisconsin Ave. crossing.

by Crickey7 on Mar 2, 2012 4:45 pm • linkreport

I scribbled these quotes from Jack Evans' subsequent appearance on Kojo, responding to a caller: "This is not a fait accompli... huge piece of land... take up less than a third of the land... it would only make sense to develop Reservation 13... as mixed use, residential, kind of along the lines of the RFP... might be the jump start, the catalyst."

Yeah, because locking up 30 acres of land behind a fence will really catalyze development.

by Payton on Mar 7, 2012 2:01 pm • linkreport

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